Does anyone truly enjoy working in a negative workplace? Negativity is one of the most destructive forces impacting the culture and atmosphere in numerous organizations. And when a leader demonstrates any signs of negativity, they may inadvertently be giving people permission to model what they see. It is a force that can quickly spread and has the capacity to unhinge creativity, professional relationships, morale, service to customers… the list is endless. Unfortunately, many people enjoy a good “pity party”. Perhaps this is because they are looking for a distraction from their work, or they lack awareness regarding the ramifications of buying into negative conversations. It is important for organizations to understand the impact of condoning negative mindsets. Ultimately, negativity feeds on itself, creating a destabilizing effect on team performance and productivity.
When an individual engages in negative communication, he or she is giving permission for negativity to become the norm. Remember, negativity feeds on itself the same way that positivity feeds on itself. The good news is that YOU can make the choice to either partake or abstain from contributing to negative energy by role modelling the exact opposite behaviours of “doom and gloomers” and naysayers.
If you have found yourself in the midst of a “pity party”, you may find it challenging to disengage without the appropriate tools and solutions. Those who are throwing the “party” may be oblivious to the harm they are causing by indulging in negative chit-chat. First, the impact can be highly toxic, no matter where the negative conversation is taking place. For the instigators, negative words have their origins in negative thoughts. Choosing to speak badly about others is a reflection of an individual’s character and dissatisfaction with his or her own lot in life. Unfortunately, such people often lack self -awareness and are not operating from a position of high self-esteem. It is important to deflect, disarm or disconnect from negativity for a variety of reasons including practicing self-care while establishing healthy boundaries. When you hear the following negative sequence: “This is really bad” followed by “I know, it couldn’t get any worse” and/or “it’s terrible” etc. consider the consequences to your own peace of mind and reputation if you choose to join in the conversation.
The best option is to counter negativity by setting a positive example. You can make a decision to manage negativity from a solution-orientated vantage point by taking the lead. You are not responsible for fixing the behaviour, although you may be in a position to address the problem. This is especially true when negative attitudes are affecting morale and productivity. You can always opt for the high road by keeping in mind what you can and cannot control. Focus your energy on encouraging positive activities in the workplace. i.e. connecting with likeminded peers who enjoy planning or participating in fun social gatherings, or pursuits that highlight peer achievements. Remember, all forms of energy can influence the atmosphere. The power of negativity is as powerful as the power of positivity.
Michelle Ray (Twitter) is one of the best international leadership keynote speakers in Vancouver. She helps you discover your potential through presentations, coaching and consulting. With over 20 years of experience Michelle has worked with hundreds of companies around the world. She is taking bookings for speaking engagements and can be contacted at MichelleRay.com